We’re big fans of life
That’s why the one and only priority of the Buck’s leadership is to support Buck science. We are at a critical inflection point in research on aging when fundamental biological discoveries are poised to become clinical realities. We believe the age of better aging starts now, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
Our first, second, and third concerns: science, science, and science
Because of how we’re structured, how we conduct our research, and the elite collection of scientists we have working with us, the Buck is in a unique position to define the approach for solving many of the biggest problems facing the world today. The Buck’s leadership works every day to ensure our scientists have the support and resources they need as they tackle these immense challenges.
President and CEO
Dr. Eric Verdin
Eric Verdin is the president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. A native of Belgium, Dr. Verdin received his Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Liege and completed additional clinical and research training at Harvard Medical School. He has held faculty positions at the University of Brussels, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Picower Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Verdin is also a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Verdin joined the Buck in 2016 after spending the previous 20 years as a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, where he served as associate director from 2004 to 2016.
Dr. Verdin’s laboratory focuses on the role of epigenetic regulators in the aging process. His laboratory was the first to clone a family of enzymes called HDACs, which regulate histone acetylation. Dr. Verdin studies how metabolism, diet, and small molecules regulate the activity of HDACs and sirtuins, and thereby the aging process itself and its associated diseases, including Alzheimer’s. He has published more than 210 scientific papers and holds more than 15 patents. He is a highly cited scientist and has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging and a senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation. He is an elected member of several scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He also serves on the advisory council of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH.
Jill Stevens Kinney
Chair of the Board of Trustees
With more than 30 years of experience, Jill Kinney is an industry leader in the world of health and fitness. After founding Club One in 1991, Jill built it into a $90 million business with over 3,000 employees. She repurchased the company in 2014 and expanded its scope by establishing one of the first fitness/healthcare partnerships. Today, the company, now known as Active Wellness, is among the largest fitness management companies in the US. Jill is also a pioneer in digital health, having merged her weight loss and behavior improvement program, Itrim, with the digital wellcare platform Moni Health, a medically reimbursable, clinically validated weight loss and behavioral change program. Jill attended UC Berkeley and lives in Marin County.
David spent much of his career at Gensler, the largest design firm in the world with 46 offices in 16 countries. Gensler provides architecture, design, planning and consulting services to over 2,500 clients. During his 23 years there, he helped grow the company from 500 people and $60M of revenue to over 5,000 people and $1.1B of revenue. He led the firm’s consulting practice, started the firm’s information solutions practice, was a Regional Managing Principal of EMEA, was the Chief Operating Officer and served on Gensler’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee for 12 years. For the last 10 years of his career there he was Co-CEO. As co-CEO, he was responsible for the firm’s operational infrastructure, including Finance, Global Talent, Legal/Risk Management, Communications, Public Relations, Practice Area Marketing, Applications Development, Technology, Global Advisory Services, Design Practice, and Research. David also had oversight responsibility for the firm’s EMEA, Asian and South American practices.
Prior to his career at Gensler, David worked across a number of fields including Financial Services at Morgan Stanley and the Pacific Stock Exchange, Technology at Microsoft and Datis Corp. and Management Consulting at Edgar, Dunn and Company.
Mr. Gensler holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. David lives in Sebastopol California, is an active athlete and has four daughters.
Mr. Ghilotti was president of the Association of Engineering Contract Employers in 2000 and is co-chair of the California Save the Missions Foundation.
Wendye received her BS from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and her MD from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She completed postgraduate training in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and in anesthesiology and pain at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions. She served as Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UCSF from 1995-2000 and has been teaching faculty at the Stanford University School of Medicine since 2002. She is board certified in anesthesiology.
Her current position, Senior Vice President of "The Schwabacher Group" at Morgan Stanley. She concentrates on consulting for affluent families. Her comprehensive planning includes helping with asset allocation, assisting with investment policy formulation, manager search, performance monitoring and due diligence. Each client’s investment plan is customized, providing access to tax advice, estate planning strategies, philanthropic objectives with family and institutional goals. Theo is a fourth generation San Franciscan. Her grandfather and father were both involved in the brokerage and investment banking business and sold their company, Schwabacher and Co. to Dean Witter in 1968.
Her own philanthropic participation has led her to participate on many boards in San Francisco. These include the San Francisco Cancer Society, Red Cross, San Francisco Mental Health Association, Merola and the San Francisco Opera Board. Her professional associations include Technical Analysts Association of San Francisco, Certified Investment Management, and the Morgan Stanley Presidents Club from 2006-present. Her current affiliations include: Morgan Stanley Women’s Business Exchange, The Women’s Global Warming Initiative, and National Women Board of Entrepreneurs. She co-chairs Women Corporate Directors Foundation of Northern California, which helps create diversity on public boards.
Mr. Steck is a member of the board of Aravo Solutions, Inc. an enterprise software company addressing the issue of third party risk and compliance. He is Chairman of DNP, a holding company with a major investment in Thorne Research, a science based health and wellness company. Mr. Steck has served in many capacities on the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board including Chairman and vice-Chairman of Development.
Mr. Steck is a private investor with interests in entrepreneurship, education, and environment. He is the sole donor and a trustee of the Fredric E. Steck Family Foundation in Santa Ynez.
UCSF School of Medicine
Co-Director, Einstein Institute for Aging Research
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research
Howard Hughes Medical Investigator
University of California, Berkeley
Professor, Laboratory of Genetics
Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease
The Salk Institute
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director, Memory and Aging Center
University of California, San Francisco
Harvard Medical School
Howard Hughes Investigator
University of California, San Francisco
Mr. La Follette received a B.S. and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. Mr. La Follette resides in San Francisco with his wife, Ellen. They have four grown children that all attended Harvard as well.